Tuesday 30 April 2013

A Short Wander around Hare Hill

Tuesday 30th April 2013

As it was such a lovely sunny day we decided to head to Hare Hill garden, between Alderley Edge and Macclesfield, for a short wander around with Isabel; here are a couple of photos of the nice walled garden at Hare Hill:

Hare Hill walled garden
Hare Hill walled garden

Saturday 27 April 2013

Seal Spotting on Kildonan Shore

Saturday 27th April 2013  

A short coastal wander on our last afternoon on Arran

Distance: 3.5km; Ascent: negligible; Sunshine and showers; with Lynsey & Isabel

It was our last day on Arran today and it was forecast to be the best day of weather so far, with unbroken sunshine forecast for the whole day!  We had heard that there was a nice coastal walk near Kildonan and so after packing the car and leaving the cottage we drove south.  After an early lunch we set off walking at around midday from the westernmost of the three car parks in Kildonan.

Looking west along Kildonan Shore
There were good views along the coast as we headed westwards, initially on a broad path before continuing across reasonably flat grassland behind the shore.  We spotted several seals basking on the rocks and swimming in the bay, along with a few oystercatchers, and here are the best photos of them I could manage with my compact camera:

Seals at Kildonan Shore
A Seal on Kildonan Shore
Oystercatchers at Kildonan Shore
We continued for a few hundred metres, past a small warterfall, with excellent views along the coast in both directions.

Looking west along Kildonan Shore
Waterfall above Kildonan Shore
There were also good views across the sea to the south towards the islands of Pladda and Ailsa Craig. 

Looking south towards Pladda and Ailsa Craig
At around the point that we decided to turn around we came across a small natural arch in one of the rocky promontories along this bit of the coast.

Small natural arch at Kildonan Shore
The sun was out as we retraced our steps eastwards, mainly sticking to the grass behind the shore itself as it was much easier to negotiate with the pushchair compared to the soft sand!

Kildonan Shore
Pladda from Kildonan Shore
We returned to the car at around 1:30pm and headed for tea and cake in a cafe in Whiting Bay, before driving north towards Brodick with excellent views of the northern hills.

The northern hills from the Lamlash to Brodick road
We left Arran on the 16:40 ferry in the sunshine after an excellent week :-)  We shall have to return another time as there was so much we didn't manage to explore during our week.

Our return ferry arriving into Brodick
Sailing away from Arran after a good week!

N.B. 11/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 27/04/13 (from 09/05/13).

Friday 26 April 2013

Brodick Castle and Country Park

Friday 26th April 2013 

A short wander around Brodick Castle Gardens and Brodick Country Park 

Distance: 4km; Ascent: 100m; Sunny; with Lynsey & Isabel

Today we decided to have a relatively relaxing day in and around Brodick.  After lunch at our cottage we headed out for a wee afternoon wander around Brodick Castle Gardens followed by Brodick Country Park.

Brodick Castle Walled Garden
Therefore shortly before 2pm we set off walking from the NTS car park and entered the impressive walled garden, with good views of the castle.  After negotiating a few sets of steps with the pushchair we continued into the lower garden beyond.

In Brodick Castle Gardens
Unfortunately some sections of the garden were currently closed due to the discovery of Phytophthora kernovaie, which according to the information sign is a fungal-like disease that causes wilting and dieback of some plants.  However we were still able to access the impressive Bavarian Summerhouse, which dates from the 1840s.  The ceiling was particularly impressive, and there were also good views out over Brodick Bay from the summerhouse.

Bavarian Summerhouse at Brodick Castle
Ceiling of the Bavarian Summerhouse at Brodick Castle
We continued to walk through the pleasant gardens and eventually emerged to the west of the castle, from where we picked up several trails through the country park.

Brodick Castle
Goatfell from Wilma's Track
After following Wilma's Track, with good views of Goatfell, we picked up the rougher Millburn Track before continuing onto the broader Cemetery Track past the Hamilton Family Cemetery to reach the main Goatfell path.

Junction of Goatfell and Cemetery Trails
We followed the Goatfell path downhill all the way to the Claddach where I left Lynsey & Isabel having tea & cake in the Wine Port whilst I returned to the car by way of the castle gardens.

In Brodick Castle Gardens
Brodick Castle
Looking over the walled garden to Brodick Bay
Later that afternoon we headed into Brodick, from where Goatfell again looked very impressive!

Goatfell from Brodick

N.B. 11/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 26/04/13 (from 09/05/13).

Thursday 25 April 2013

The Three Beinns Horseshoe

Thursday 25th April 2013 

An excellent day's hill walking on Beinn Nuis, Beinn Tarsuinn and Beinn a'Chliabhain 

Distance: 20km; Ascent: 1000m; Mainly dry with occasional sunshine; with Ian C

Ian had got in touch earlier in the week to see if I fancied meeting up for a day on the hills, and I jumped at the chance as it would be nice to have company for the day as I had originally planned to head into the hills on my own for a day.  So soon after 10:30 this morning I headed down to the ferry terminal in Brodick to meet Ian who had nipped over from the mainland for the day.

We set off walking at around quarter to eleven, along the pleasant shoreline path next to the golf course before walking out of town on the main road to pick up the minor road up Glen Rosa.  After passing the camp site we continued on a broad track up to the bridge over the Garbh Allt, passing a few people on route.

Heading up Glen Rosa
We started to gain height alongside the Garbh Allt burn to reach a flatter boggier area at a height of around 300m.  After crossing the burn near where it exited a small ravine, we crossed more damp ground to reach the lower slopes of Beinn Nuis where we stopped for an early lunch with good views over Brodick Bay.

Looking out over Brodick Bay from the lower slopes of Beinn Nuis
As we ascended on the improved path the low cloud gradually began to clear to reveal excellent views across Coire a'Bhradain to the hills beyond, which were covered with a light dusting of fresh snow.  There were also impressive views of the crags which form the upper eastern slopes of Beinn Nuis.

Beinn Tarsuinn and Cir Mhor across Coire a'Bhradain
The phantom path builders' spades
The path works were clearly an ongoing work in progress as every so often we spotted spades and other tools lying nearby, presumably to avoid having to carry them in each time work is done.  We continued to ascend, now back in the cloud, to reach the windy summit of Beinn Nuis (Corbett Top).

Summit of Beinn Nuis
We chose not to linger on the summit due to the bitter wind, but instead descended north for a few hundred metres to find some handy rocks for shelter where we stopped for a second lunch.

Granite crag between Beinn Nuis and Beinn Tarsuinn
The cloud began to clear the summits again and as we ascended the south ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn there were excellent views back south towards the impressive crags on Beinn Nuis.  The western hills of Mullach Bhuide and Beinn Bhreac also looked quite inviting across Glen Iorsa.

Looking back south towards Beinn Nuis
Mullach Bhuide and Beinn Bhreac
There were good views of our onward route along the south ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn and we soon came to the rock formation known as The Old Man of Beinn Tarsuinn, which looks out over Glen Rosa.

On the south ridge of Beinn Tarsiunn
The Old Man of Beinn Tarsuinn
At around quarter to two we reached our highest point of the day: the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn (Corbett).  There were excellent views across to all of Arran's northern hills from here and, as the wind had now dropped, we spent a while admiring them.

Caisteal Abhail and Cir Mhor from Beinn Tarsiunn
On the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn
Goatfell from the NE slopes of Beinn Tarsuinn
Caisteal Abhail and Cir Mhor from Beinn Tarsuinn
We carefully descended down to the north-east on a mixture of path, rock and snow to reach a fork in the path.  Here we forked right away from A'Chir to head towards Beinn a'Chliabhain and on route we passed through an impressive natural arch between two large rocks.

Natural Arch on the descent from Beinn Tarsuinn
There were good views ahead to our final peak of Beinn a'Chliabhain and, as we approached that peak, there were also good views back to Beinn Tarsuinn and the impressive ridge of A'Chir

Looking ahead to Beinn a'Chliabhain
Beinn Tarsuinn and A'Chir
Soon after 3pm we reached the summit of Beinn a'Chliabhain (Graham Top), where we didn't linger long due to the wind having picked up again.  We descended the south ridge on a good path, with excellent views down to Brodick Bay and also over to Holy Island.

Descending the S ridge of Beinn a'Chliabhain
Lower down we crossed more boggy ground to reach the path alongside the Garbh Allt, where we rejoined our outward route.  The wind had now picked up considerably and the weather was quite showery for the remainder of our walk; however this did result in an impressive rainbow above Glen Rosa.

Rainbow in Glen Rosa
We headed back down the minor road to reach our cottage on the outskirts of Brodick at around quarter to six, where we enjoyed a well earned beer before Ian headed back into Brodick to catch his ferry home.  It had been an excellent day's hill walking and I was grateful to Ian for his suggestion of walking this route.  I shall have to return some other day to climb the rest of Arran's northern hills as they all looked excellent!

See here for my Social Hiking map from the day's walk.

N.B. 11/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 25/04/13 (from 08/05/13).  Link to Social Hiking map also added.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

The Fallen Rocks

Wednesday 24th April 2013 

A short coastal wander along Arran's north coast to visit a large rock fall

Distance: 4.5km; Ascent: negligible; Sunny but quite windy; with Lynsey & Isabel

I had arranged to spend tomorrow walking in the northern hills with Ian, so today we went for a stroll along part of the north-east coast of the island.  After having a picnic lunch at North Sannox, we set off walking soon after 1pm with Isabel in her pushchair.

Walking along the shore of the Firth of Clyde
The good path took us through an area of woodland before continuing along the coast, sandwiched between the forest and the shore.  There were good views along the coast and across the Firth of Clyde to Bute and the mainland.

Approaching the Fallen Rocks
Shortly before 2pm we reached the Fallen Rocks, which consisted of lots of huge conglomerate boulders stretching all the way down to the sea.  The path weaved its way through the rocks before continuing along the coast towards the Cock of Arran and Lochranza.  However this time we decided not to venture beyond the rocks; we shall have to come back sometime as this coastal walk does look good!

Some of the Fallen Rocks
Some of the Fallen Rocks
Looking back at the Fallen Rocks
We retraced our steps back along the coastal path, again with excellent views!  Around quarter to three we returned to the road end at North Sannox, from where there was a good view of some of Arran's impressive looking northern hills.

The northern hills from North Sannox

N.B. 11/06/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 24/04/13 (from 06/05/13).